Explaining the European Central Bank’s limited reform ambition: ordoliberalism and asymmetric integration in the eurozone

Thomas Warren

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5 Citations (Scopus)


While the literature on the eurozone crisis has focused on the increasing primacy of intergovernmental decision-making, the transformation in the role played by the European Central Bank (ECB) from technocratic actor to key political decision-maker has been less well studied. A discursive institutionalist analysis is applied to explore the ECB’s interactions during the European Union (EU) negotiations on EU fiscal governance reform. As well as locating ideas at different levels of generality during the eurozone crisis, the important role of macroeconomic ideology in informing different integration scenarios within the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is made explicit. The dominance of ordoliberalism in framing the ECB’s diagnosis of the eurozone crisis, informing policy solutions, and in providing a decentralised integration path for officials to follow are key findings here. Finally, this article provides evidence that the key hypotheses of the new intergovernmentalism can be extended to include the ‘de novo’ institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number2
Early online date4 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • EMU
  • European Central Bank
  • discursive institutionalism
  • eurozone crisis
  • integration theory
  • ordoliberalism

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